Steve’s Media Blog

Link Get-Together

Posted on: November 25, 2008

A lot of blogs have “LinkFests”, but today I’m having a small get together.  Just a couple of things I wanted to gloss over today.

First bit of news to me was that VIA Rail wants to offer a music download service.  The Exclaim.ca article really sums up my reaction as well: “WTF”?  It doesn’t really make any sense.  At least they’re not actually going forward with it yet – they’re looking for “expressions of interest”.  I don’t know – if they’re not sure that they actually want to go through with this, maybe they really shouldn’t?

Second bit, and my personal favourite.  Scientists are now closer than ever to make the same mistakes as Jurassic Park.  When I first read this last week, I pretty much had to laugh.  Not because of the accomplishment; but because the only picture I had in my mind, was, of course, Jurassic Park: When Mammoths Attack.

I will grant that they’re saying they MIGHT be able to bring back “characteristics” of it, not that they are going to bring an extinct creature back to life.  But, here’s some of the article for you:

Stephan Schuster, a Penn State University biochemistry professor and co-author of the new research, said the early findings suggest it’s only a matter of time before the complete sequence is obtained, raising the possibility that an extinct species could be brought back based on its genetic material.

“It could be done. The question is, just because we might be able to do it one day, should we do it?” said Schuster. “I would be surprised to see if it would take more than 10 or 20 years to do it.”

Well, at least they’re thinking along the lines of Ian Malcolm.  And more sad news: because dinosaurs lived in a much warmer climate, it’s not likely that any of the cool ones have specimens left in Siberia’s permafrost.

The method used by the researchers isn’t likely to be applicable to older creatures like dinosaurs, however, because whether the DNA can survive the rigours of thousands of years depends in large part on how undisturbed the specimen is by the ravages of its environment, [University of McMaster anthropology Prof. Hendrik] Poinar said.

While the relatively unchanging permafrost of Siberia is capable of preserving specimens as old as 100,000 years, the time of dinosaurs was much warmer and the land mass they lived on was closer to the equator, unsuitable conditions for permafrost.

That means we won’t be seeing Jurassic Park any time soon, said Poinar.

Damn.  We can dream though, right?

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